Yes, complaining to the BBC does sometimes pay off.
Here are three examples, published over the last three days.
The latest one concerns Sally Bundock's infamous interview with Tim Martin of Wetherspoons. We previously posted an earlier BBC Complaints response to criticism that was typically 'BBC' in its refusal to admit wrongdoing - except that the BBC has now admitted wrongdoing.
The directions of travel, bias-wise, here are interesting. The first suggests anti-Catalan independence bias, the second pro-transgender activism bias, and the third anti-Brexit bias.
Up All Night, Radio 5 Live, 21 December 2018: Finding by the Executive Complaints Unit
The programme included an interview about the political situation in Spain with Irene Lozano, the Secretary of State for Global Spain. A listener complained that terms used by both Ms Lozano and the interviewer had given the false impression that the leaders of the Catalan independence movement had been convicted of crimes.
As was made clear in the interview, the trial of Catalan leaders had not yet begun. However, the use of terms such as “these crimes that they committed” by the interviewer and “political leaders that have committed criminal offenses” by Ms Lozano conveyed the false impression that their guilt had already been established.
The presenter has been reminded of the importance of precise language, especially when legal proceedings are imminent.
The programme included a discussion of Martina Navratilova’s recently-published views on trans women athletes, in which the trans woman cyclist Rachel McKinnon participated. Five listeners objected to the fact that an invitation to another speaker, Nicola Williams, had been withdrawn after Dr McKinnon had made that a condition of her own participation, and complained that the resulting discussion was one-sided.
The decision to accept Dr McKinnon’s terms was a matter for the programme-makers’ editorial discretion (exercised in view of the fact that Ms Navratilova had cited Dr McKinnon in the article in question and that Dr Williams would be invited to take part in a subsequent edition of the programme), and not a matter for judgement by the ECU. In Dr Williams’ absence, however, there was no challenge to the views expressed by Dr McKinnon, either from the presenter or the other guest, and the result was not duly impartial.
The programme team has been asked to ensure that debates properly reflect due impartiality either in their casting or in the nature of the questioning.
Business Briefing, BBC News Channel, 28 March 2019: Finding by the Executive Complaints Unit
The programme included an interview with Tim Martin, Chairman of Wetherspoon, who was described by the presenter as a business leader “who wants a clean break from the EU”. Two viewers complained that the interview was not conducted in a properly impartial manner, with Mr Martin being persistently interrupted by the presenter.
In the ECU’s judgement, it would have been easy for viewers to form the impression that the presenter held a distinct view of her own on Mr Martin’s support for leaving the EU without a deal, and the interview fell short of the BBC’s standards of due impartiality in that respect.
It has been stressed to the presenter that the way questions are framed should make it clear to the audience that this is for the proper purpose of impartial challenge and that a personal view is not being expressed.
That's quite a result on the Sally Bundock interview with Tim Martin! Here's a reminder of just how bad it was...ReplyDelete
This is all a bit odd...what's going on? Why have the BBC abandoned the GIAR defence (Got It About Right) or the DIOT defence (Due Impartiality Over Time). They've deployed them in the past when presenters have been even more biased.
As soon as I read this news I was reminded of Stalin's speech to the Comrades during the collectivisation period criticising some of them for becoming "dizzy with success".
My suspicion is that the top echelons at the BBC have noticed what we have noticed over the last year or so - the increasingly brazen bias of BBC news presenters which has led people like Maitlis, Davis, Husain, Robinson, Mardell, Chu and all the rest to abandon any pretence of impartiality. Meanwhile the office juniors are aping their elders and producing completely biased opinion videos and the like.
While no doubt the BBC's managers hearts are gladdened by this brazen bias, their heads say otherwise. It is vital for the BBC, if it is to prove successful in its mission of progressivising the whole population and to keep the licence fee-based gravy train going, to maintain the basics of its strategic approach: camouflage (never make your bias too obvious to the general public), infiltration (taking over events like Glastonbury, Chelsea Flower, Women's Football to promote a political agenda) and pushing agendas more through drama, lifestyle programmes, so called commedy or news-commedy programmes and so on, rather than allowing BBC News to appear overtly biased.
Of course they can't uphold a complaint against one of their "stars" even though they have been just as guilty as Bundock of horrendous bias, of rude interruptive interviews, loaded questions and so on. So one of the more dim-witted juniors had to be "shot" as an example to the others.
So I think the BBC have decided to pull back a bit - to send a warning to those "dizzy with success" - in order that they can maintain the pretence of being "impartial, free and fair" to use the infamous phrase of Jon Sopel (probably one of the most partial, opposed to freedom and unfair US correspondents the BBC has ever had out there!).
You wouldn't know from the ECU's report above that the interviewer was Sally Bundock. They don't name any of them, although the title of the programme 'Stephen Nolan' might give it away in that case. Are we not allowed to know?ReplyDelete
Still devastating for her, though. She must have thought she was one of the untouchables. And now the BBC have thrown her to the wolves.